How Much Do You Pay a Pastor for a Funeral?

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As of 2014, payment to pastors for conducting funerals can range from nothing to a few hundred dollars, depending on the pastor’s personal choices and those of his church. The pastor’s honorarium can usually be paid either by check or in cash and is typically put into a plain envelope, often with a thank you note expressing gratitude for the pastor’s services.

Some churches and other houses of worship have set fees in place for pastors officiating at funerals. If this is not the case, it is not appropriate to ask a pastor what he charges. In establishing the size of the honorarium, give some thought to whether or not the pastor ministered to the family before or after the death of the loved one. It is also appropriate to give a smaller honorarium to any musicians participating in the funeral.

The honorarium is paid directly to the pastor, not to the funeral home or the pastor’s church. It’s best to give the pastor his honorarium before the funeral service begins because after the service, families are often surrounded by well-wishers, and the pastor may wish to leave before any reception. If possible, assign a trusted friend the job of handing the honorarium to the pastor, or ask the funeral director to do so.

Some pastors feel very strongly that they should not accept any fees or honoraria for presiding at funerals, believing that their salaries cover these very services. Other pastors who agree with this are willing to accept payment for any travel expenses.